There is little doubt that eBooks are going to stick around for a long while yet, but there is a LOT to be said for authors still willing to print in paperback.
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Publishing Print On Demand (POD) paperback books is inexpensive with companies like CreateSpace and Lightning Source. If you already have an ebook, all you’ll need is the back and spine of your cover re-designed and formatted according to the requirements of whatever POD company you choose.
Having your manuscript in Word or PDF already allows you to skip that service and cruise on through to publishing with just a few hours. Given that you will likely have a handful of friends and family wanting a physical copy of your book, you will probably pay back the limited upfront costs in a matter of weeks.
Let’s start with the basics: Unless you are selling non-fiction books, I don’t recommend selling paperback copies of your eBook purely for financial reasons. You simply won’t make a whole lot per copy. Due to the high print-on-demand printing costs, you’ll have to sell the average 200-page book for more than $10 to make any profit at all. And let’s face it – very few people are willing to pay that for a fiction book these days, unless they have previously read your work, are fans of other work you do, or they know you well some other way.
1. For credibility. When trying to garner publicity from local media, the press are much more likely to cover you if you have published a book that is available in both soft and hard format.
2. You can do book signings. Sure with Kindlegraph: www.kindlegraph.com/ you can digitally sign kindle copies of a book, but your local bookstore or library is unlikely to host a digital book signing (though some progressive ones will). Produce paperback copies of your book and you can have a proper book launch party and book signing!
3. You can get in libraries. Getting to know your local librarian can have lots of advantages, including networking opportunities, getting your book on the shelf or getting invited to speak or hold a book signing. PLUS – if someone asks you if your book is at the library, you can say, “Yes!”
4. You can give out review copies to those who don’t have eReaders – Yes, there are still folks out there without eReaders (gasp!), those who still like to hold a book in their hands and smell the ink on the pages. Why not offer this audience what they want and need?
5. You can do a Goodreads giveaways – they only allow paperback giveaways and they’re great exposure.
6. You might sell more eBooks – It’s all about a little psychological principle called Perceived Value. Think about it – if a paperback is priced at $10+ and the eBook is only $2.99, doesn’t that eBook purchase suddenly look like a bargain? The same principle goes for the KDP Select free download days, and is probably part of the explanation of why our very own Kathy Lynn Harris had over 20,000 downloads over 2 days during her KDP Select days and made #6 on the Kindle free listings! (Her paperback is priced at $14.95 but currently discounted to $10.76 by Amazon – see how the comparison looks below)
Me! About to open the first proof of my bridal beauty book…
7. It’s fun! Sure it’s a great feeling to publish an eBook, but seeing your words on paper, being able to flick through crisp white pages, smell that new book smell, and have your picture taken with it… priceless!
Laura Pepper Wu is the co-founder of 30 Day Books: a book studio. She has worked with a variety of authors to successfully promote their books, including many Amazon best-sellers. Laura is the author of wedding non-fiction guides and book marketing guides 77 Ways to Find New Readers for Your Self-Published Book and Fire Up Amazon!
Laura also runs Ladies Who Critique, a critique-partner finding site. When she's not working at the studio, you can find her walking her dog, "yoga-ing" or at a coffee shop in Seattle.